Former IND star's stern warning for KL Rahul: 'If one or two innings go bad, you will see Shubman Gill opening'

Feb 02, 2023 04:23 PM IST

Shubman Gill has hit an extraordinary purple patch accross formats and it might be difficult for selectors to keep him out of the top order of the Test team for long.

Shubman Gill has hit the kind of purple patch that batters can only dream of over the past three months. The 23-year-old has scored centuries in all three formats of the game in this period, incredibly scoring a maiden T20I century in just sixth match in the shortest format on Wednesday to lead India to a massive victory against New Zealand.

Rahul is expected to return during the Test series against Australia
Rahul is expected to return during the Test series against Australia

Gill's run started with him scoring his maiden Test century in the first Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram in December. He then followed that up by scoring centuries in consecutive ODI matches, the second of which he converted into a double century as well. He then scored an unbeaten 40 to lead India to victory in the next match before scoring a century again.

His blazing form led to him getting a run as an opener in the T20I series against New Zealand and while he couldn't do much in the first two games, Gill blazed an unbeaten 126 off just 63 balls in the third. It broke the record for the highest score by an Indian batter in T20Is. All this has meant that Gill is no longer seen as a second string player for India, which was the case even the last time India played Test cricket, with vice-captain KL Rahul being the preferred opener along with captain Rohit Sharma.

Rahul is expected to return during India's upcoming four-Test series against Australia. However, it will be difficult to keep Gill out of the squad and, considering Rahul's inconsistent form of late, former India batter Mohammed Kaif feels that the 30-year-old could lose his place quite quickly.

“It can happen although KL Rahul is the vice-captain. I think he will start but there will be a lot of pressure on KL Rahul,” said Kaif on Star Sports. “He will have to score runs straightaway. If one or two innings go bad, you will see Shubman Gill opening in place of KL Rahul.”

With Shreyas Iyer yet to get fit, Kaif feels that Gill can be slotted into the middle order. “Gill might get a place at No. 5 or No. 6. He will definitely play. (Cheteshwar) Pujara will be at No. 3 and (Virat) Kohli is at No. 4. (Shreyas) Iyer is not yet fit. So there is a place at No. 5 or No. 6 where he can be fit. He scored his first Test century recently in Bangladesh. In the last one to one-and-a-half months, he scored a century in a Test match, scored a double century and after that his bat has not stopped,” he said.

Gill got to his century on Thursday in just 53 balls. He 12 fours and seven sixes in his innings as helped India score 234/4. In reply, a deflated New Zealand were all out for a paltry 66 with captain Hardik Pandya picking four wickets. “He (Gill) is the sort of player you would want to see playing in the XI. So he will get a place somewhere or the other. He is a class batter and has form with him. There is simplicity in his batting,” said Kaif.

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